Theresa May has outlined her plans for post-Brexit immigration policy in the UK, and as many immigration solicitors in London feared, it will end preferential treatment for EU workers, and create a system of immigration designed to prioritise skilled workers. While many of those who voted for the UK to leave the EU did so on the basis of their views on immigration, business leaders in the UK, and specialist EEA immigration solicitors are concerned that Theresa May’s view of post-Brexit immigration is short sighted and will be self-defeating, reducing access to the workers the UK needs to function.
The announcement of Theresa May’s immigration policy comes hot on the heels of the Migration Advisory Committee’s latest report on EEA migration in the UK and appears to largely adopt the recommendations the MAC made, that EU citizens should have no preferential treatment under UK Immigration Rules post-Brexit.
EU immigration may be addressed in trade deal
While EU migration will be subsumed into general immigration policy, placing EU citizens on an equal footing with those from outside the EU, Theresa May acknowledged that further ‘mobility’ of EU citizens could be addressed within a trade deal with the EU at some stage in the future. A minimum salary requirement will be introduced for all workers looking to come to the UK, to "ensure they are not competing with people already in the UK". When asked if there would be exemptions to recognise the high need for unskilled workers in some industries, for example agriculture, Mrs May elaborated that the plan would recognise "the further needs of the economy" but that there would not be "lots of exemptions".
Business has already expressed concern over the post-Brexit immigration policy announced by Theresa May. The Confederation of British Industry said "Restricting access to the workers the UK needs is self-defeating.", and would exacerbate the current shortage of care, construction and hospitality workers worse. The British Retail Consortium’s view was that the policy should be designed to meet the UK’s economic needs rather an "arbitrarily" drawn line based on salaries or skills.
Prior to this announcement, the UK Government’s intention to introduce a temporary 6 month visa or unskilled agricultural workers has already been criticised for its plan to allow 2,500 visas in an industry which currently relies on around 11,000 migrant workers at peak times. The latest vision of post-Brexit Britain is unlikely to inspire confidence for the future of the UK for many of those already concerned about the impact of Brexit on the economy.
For further media or press comment about the latest announcements on the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy, please contact at OTS Solicitors. We regularly contribute to debate on immigration matters including the UK’s immigration policy and are happy to make our experienced and Legal 500 recommended solicitors and case workers available for comment. To discuss this further, please call 0203 959 9123.
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Posted on: Wednesday, 03 October, 2018